Saimaa Canal

The Saimaa Canal, connecting Lake Saimaa to the Baltic Sea, has long been an important commercial transportation route. The canal was completed in 1856 while Finland was a Duchy in the Russian Empire and was wholly within Finland after the country became independent in 1917. As part of the reparations for World War II, Finland…

In the Groove

Any time the Red Head crew stays at a spot for more than a few days they develop a routine. Their Baltimore routine is a bit different than ones of the past.

The first day here, Dylan, Dee Dee, and Dora walked to the Canton dog park. It’s a bit less than a mile each way. Dylan sat in the shade and then dragged most of the way back to the boat. Dee Dee was not behaving so her dad took her out for a walk.

The new morning routine is as follows. Up (early) for breakfast, a bit of play time, and a snooze. Around 8 am, Mom takes Dylan for a walk on the waterfront promenade, before it gets hot. He loves sitting in the air conditioning when he returns.

At 9 am, Dad takes Dora for a walk to the dog park. He returns with one throughly exhausted pup.

About 9:15 am, Mom takes Dee Dee for a walk on the promenade, using the one-on-one time to work on leash and other dog manners. She has never liked small dogs and while she won’t approach one, if she is approached it can be ugly. This has now spread to pretty much any unfamiliar dog. Hence, her dog park restrictions. Mom wonders if Dee Dee is feeling her dominance challenged by Dora. It’s hard to know what is going on in those little brains. Fortunately, she is improving and seems to like the special attention.

For the next few weeks we have a routine that seems to work for everyone.

Peep Show 2019

Marina Cam at Herrington Harbour South Marina. One of the many cams the good folks at HHS had onSpot install.The babies are getting big – soon to fly away.Thanks Herrington Harbour – Very Cool    Link to other onSpot wifi Marina Cams&nbs…

Dirona In Russia

We’ve been to a lot of places over the years and seen many countries, but taking Dirona through Russia was never on our list of expected or planned trips. When we learned about Finland’s Saimaa Lake region, however, we had to go. The Great Saimaa lake system is 1,690 sq mi (4,377 sq km) and…


Before leaving the marina we enjoy one day away from Envoy, hiring a car to tour around this great island of Lefkada with its small sandy coves, picturesque villages and inland mountains soaring to about 3,000 feet. Traffic is negligible and I don’t think there’s any traffic lights at all on the island.

Greece seems to be a very honest country with little crime evident beyond copious amounts of graffiti in the cities. Shopkeepers often leave items outside overnight and people leave their keys in cars and scooters. So it was a surprise when a 46ft Bavaria yacht was stolen from Lefkada’s quayside during our stay and hasn’t been seen since. Locals speculate that it will have been sailed across to Italy.
While in Lefkada we also meet our Kiwi friend Bruce from sailing cat Midi. This year his wife Leslie decided to stay home, so Bruce is cruising with two friends Gavin and David. Anybody thinking about sailing in the Med couldn’t do better than to buy the superbly equipped and lovingly maintained Midi.

Envoy was re-launched on Tuesday 4 June and everything was fine when we did a short sea trial before going to our berth. It’s certainly much nicer staying aboard in tn the water than on the hard.
Overall our cruise preparations went well. The only surprise issue was the sea water leak to the bilge and even that wasn’t a total surprise given past history. Without that we’d have been cruising within 12 days of our arrival, but this turned out to be 16.
Chris and I spent a bit of time adjusting the Lugger’s prop shaft stuffing box. When Sailand checked the sealings last year they tightened the bolts on the stuffing box too much so that the forward section of the stuffing box wouldn’t loosen up as the adjusting bolts were slackened. We used a puller and some levers to get it moving again and now have a nice regular drip – we find that one drip about every 10-20 seconds is about right.
The RHIB maintenance turned into a bit of a saga. After the Yamaha was serviced I took it for a test run and noticed the tachometer (tacho) was no longer working. Spiros came back and did some work on it, telling me he’d put in a new tacho that still didn’t work “so it must be the regulator” (that provides an electronic signal to the tacho). A few days later a new regulator arrives and is installed but still the tacho doesn’t work. Spiros tries to convince me “you don’t need a tacho anyway … just go and enjoy your cruise”. But I tell Spiros I want it fixed. A few minutes after that discussion he calls me to say its all fixed. He explains that when he initially checked the fault by putting in a different tacho, it was an old used one he had laying around his workshop and that one must have been faulty too. When he put in a new tacho it worked fine.
So all was finally ready – jobs done, stores loaded, documentation completed and we set off from Lefkada Marina on the Weds as planned (plan 2!)
Just before we leave our Italian friend Fabricius comes to say farewell. Fabricius had been aboard his yacht next to us on the hard stand. He gives us some valuable advice about places to see in the Italian region we’re heading to – Puglia at the northern end of the “Boot”. In fact he surprises us by saying this si one of the most visited areas of Italy. In particular he recommends Lecce – known as the Florence of the south with its Baroque architecture.
We cruise just a couple of hours north to anchor off Preveza. Di has some favorite shops here and there’s also a couple of guitar shops I want to check out, ending up buying a cheap Soundsation (Fender strat style)so I don’t get too much out of practice while we’re away.

Laurie doing first BBQ of the season

Here’s an unusual large cat in the Polynesian style noticed at Preveza

Then we cruise up to Parga – one of the nicest village on the mainland coast overlooked by its 14th century Venetian castle.

Helsinki Marina

Helsinki Marina was an excellent home base for us for two weeks while we explored the city. The marina is right downtown, and within walking distance of many restaurants, bars and attractions. It also was a safe and secure place to leave the boat while we made a couple of longer trips to Tallin, Estonia…

St. Petersburg Edifices

We spent our third and final day in St. Petersburg viewing some of the city’s most famous tsar-initiated edifices. We started with Peter & Paul fortress, where in 1703 Peter the Great founded his new Baltic port city, and toured two spectacular churches: Church on the Spilled Blood and St. Isaac’s Cathedral. We also viewed…

Northern Lights 12kW Generator Overheating

Over the last few months the generator running temperature has been slowly increasing. We were still below the 205F cut-off level, and the generator continued to run fine, but something clearly wasn’t right. The generator normally runs in the 192F to 193F range at full load and I have a warning set at 195 that…

Crossing Dixon Entrance

Just a few miles from our anchorage in Coghlin Bay is the Grenville Chanel. This 45 mile long canal is also referred to as “the ditch” by many cruisers. We find the scenery stunning on this bright clear cloudless day with sheer mountain cliffs tumbling down to the shoreline. When we transited this section both […]

June 7 – Ricketts Glen State Park

“Everything we do is infused with the energy in which we do it. If we’re frantic, life will be frantic. If we are peaceful, life will be peaceful.” – Marianne Williamson

We’ve wanted to hike Ricketts Glen for the past three years, but the weather or time always seemed to get in our way…until Friday. What a wonderful day to spend hiking this amazing park, the sun was out and the temperature was in the lower 70s. Ricketts Glen State Park is one of the most scenic areas in Pennsylvania and is comprised of 13,050 acres, which crosses into three counties. We hiked a little over four miles on the Ganoga Glen, Glen Leigh and Highland Trails. The loop took us by 18 of the 21 named waterfalls in the park, although we saw many other falls that weren’t considered special enough to be named. Each waterfall cascades through rock strewn clefts of this ancient hillside and the hike was incredible. The waterfalls ranged in height from Cayuage Falls at 11′ to Ganoga Falls which is 94’…they were all spectacular.